Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Winter Snow Story, and some 12 x 12 quilts

    1. It snowed, snowed, and rained. There was more snow and the tree branches held the snow. Again, more snow, bigger snow, more layers. Finally, the biggest snowdrops of all. I re-read Rayna Gillman's book, but this quilt should not reflect on her. These are my first strips, a story which I sewed while listening to NPR. I painted snowdrops on the trees with Jacquard Super Opague White 220 OP. French knots may have been more appropriate. Black fleece doubles as batting and backing. I quilted in the ditch and on some of the branches. Snuggly, but how to show the snow cone tops on all the bushes.

   2.  The birds in the front of the house were making such a mess, like a copy of a Pollack painting;  so we moved the feeder to the back yard. It was not easy for the feathered ones to find their way west. I quilted an arrow. This was definitely a journal quilt...a memory of a special event. I could still paint some shading or use netting to shadow a side of the bird feeder. Beeds are the seeds flying everywhere.
     3. Trying to use up my stash, I had earlier tried a blue quilt that almost made me give up quilting. Jo Diggs uses dots so much better. I learned that it is probably good to join pop or graphic fabrics with each other and realistic prints together, but not to mix the two. I read that one should think about what one likes in a quilt to know what to do to yours. I like hand stitching, but it didn't save this piece.

     4. and 5.  Then there are the two quilts that really needed help. Winter Palette with padded paints needs a brush as well as a photographer; and Erika's 8th soft birthday card needs a redo. But both are ok and were part of the process. You win some and lose some. Click to enlarge photos.




Sunday, February 9, 2014

Vintage Valentine Mug Rugs: a surprise favor

    Four couples who served a law firm in London 25 years ago reunited this weekend. Each couple was charged to contribute to the meal overlooking the Boston Common and the lights of the city under snow. The hostess made artistic and delicious scallop and salmon terrines. The host added superb Moroccan Rock Cornish game hens and risotto. Another brought a beautiful large cheese collection from Wasik's in Wellesley including one with truffles. There were the abundant grilled vegetables, a salad before dessert, and vanilla poached pears...not to speak of paired wines and a unique kir to greet us.

      I always like a bit of surprise (not needed with this crowd) but wanted to take a little something besides my hostess gift (Poire William) and poached pears. So, on a Friday afternoon I stitched up these campy vintage mug rugs. I had the novelty print on hand, found some black fleece for batting, and put cherry red/black print on the back. First, I cut solid black fabric, fleece and backing to 5" x  8", then stitched around all sides, and finally cut the stitched sides with a pinking rotary cutter.  I cut out the drawings and poems with pinking shears from the novelty fabric and stitched them onto the black top with invisible thread, quilting where needed. I wanted more color and added a red bow, held in place with a few machine stitches. I didn't need to go to Ben Franklin for some white "lace" or envelopes (I could have folded red construction paper) or glitter heart stickers, but I did!

     I realized I was having a blast making Valentines Friday afternoon just as I did on the rare rainy afternoons in Amarillo as a child. Only this time, I was using fabric instead of doilies and hearts. Click to enlarge photos.